The Department for Education has been warned that teachers and schools leaders are already exhausted, just two weeks into the new term.
Concerns around the availability of Covid testing and staff and pupil absences, and uncertainty regarding disruption to next year's exams, are worrying school staff, the Chartered College of Teaching warned during a school stakeholders' meeting at the DfE on Monday.
In a letter sent last week ahead of the meeting, seen by Tes, Dame Alison Peacock, CEO of the Chartered College of Teaching, listed a series of concerns that the profession is flagging up.
Exclusive: Teachers' lockdown stress 'is unsustainable'
Beyond the “joy of being able to return” to school, some very serious issues have been raised from both teachers and school leaders.
'Underlying stress across the whole teaching profession'
Dame Alison's letter warns: "There is growing concern regarding the lack of available testing and the resulting staff and pupil absence
"Exhausted school leaders are worried, in particular, about having to constantly field concerns from parents, the impact on their budgets related to the costs of cleaning and how to cope with staff absence.
"Exhaustion rates at the stage of the term are also a worrying indicator of underlying stress across the whole profession."
It also says that newly qualified teachers are sometimes finding the experience of teaching their own classes very hard.
The Chartered College of Teaching’s letter highlights other specific issues in need of clarification for the future, most importantly what will happen next year in case exams are cancelled again.
Teachers need guidance regarding the examinations timetable for 2021, and also regarding moderated teachers' assessment in case of cancellation of examinations, it says.
Finally, the letter reports “significant worries” about the role of Ofsted visits.
“It’s very early in the term for us to be hearing these levels of concerns from colleagues,” Dame Alison told Tes.
But she said that the college's concerns had been listened to.
“Teachers will be pleased to know that the concerns that they are raising are being heard by the DfE, and that is definitely the case," she said. "Every single one of those concerns we raised they listened to, which is reassuring.
“I don’t know what will happen next – none of us do when we go to these meetings. We inform the DfE what the sector is telling us, but in terms of what happens next, we don’t know, but at least we know they have heard and they are listening, and they want to listen.”
The Department for Education has been contacted for comment.